Iraqi Kabab Tawa / Aroog

Mama has many signature dishes, truly she makes magic in the kitchen. One of her dishes that I miss and crave is her Kabab Tawa, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. She usually makes a big batch and freezes it for me, and I make sure I take my freezer bag with me on the Eurostar knowing it will be filled with yummy kabab.  I tried many times to duplicate her recipes but I never get it as perfect as hers. I guess each magician has his/her own secret magic that can’t be passed down to the apprentice.  But I   got it close and here is the recipe.

Firstly what is tawa. It means a frying pan, and this is what you will use to cook the kabab. Why Iraqi kabab? Because it is a popular dish in Iraq and doesn’t use hot spices that the indian subcontinent use.


Just note , you will get your hand very sticky and messy. And you must get this consistency  to allow the kabab to be soft in the middle.

The main ingredients are mince meat that has fat (it will not work if there is not fat) onions and parsley. Mum adds potato to make it crispy. You can add courgette also. Otherwise use can just stick to the three ingredients.



500 g mince lamb meat with fat. You can use any type of meat you like.

2 white onions, grated or cut very small

2 medium size potato, grated

1 bunch of parsley


2 teaspoons of turmeric

2 teaspoons of 7 spices

3 or 4 spoons of flour

10 spoons of water , and  bow  to use later to shape the kabab

frying oil



Step 1- Grate the potato and onions , or cut into thin small slices. Chop the parsley.

Step 2- In a bowl add place the meat and vegetables and herbs together and mix. Then add spices, flour and seasoning and mix well.

Step 3- Slowly start to add the water and mix using you hands. Keep adding the water till you have a soft sticky dough consistency. Don’t be afraid to add more water and if you feel its too much just add a bit of flour and mix really well.  Fridge the mixture for a minimum of an hour

Step 4- In a large frying pan add enough oil on a  medium / high heat.

Step 5- Take the kabab mix out of the fridge and have a small bowl of water next to you. Using your hands take a medium amount of the mix and place it on the palm of you hands and flatten it out, dip your fingers in the bowl of water and shape the kabab to help you.

Step 6- Start to fry the kabab till brown on one side and gently turn.

Serve with bread or fried potatoes, or with fried aubergines, salads or on it’s own.




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